Luce Scholars Program

Website: Henry Luce Foundation


The Luce Scholars Program represents a major effort by the Henry Luce Foundation to provide an awareness of Asia among potential leaders in American society.

Launched in 1974, the Luce Scholars Program is aimed at a group of highly qualified young Americans in a variety of professional fields. It is unique among American-Asian exchanges in that it is intended for young leaders who have had limited experience of Asia and who might not otherwise have an opportunity in the normal course of their careers to come to know Asia. The Program provides stipends, language training and individualized professional placement in Asia for fifteen to eighteen young Americans each year.

The Luce Scholars Program coordinates scholars' professional placements within a variety of organizations, institutions, agencies, etc. Language training takes place July - August. Professional placements are Sept. - July. Placements can be made in the following countries or regions in East, South and Southeast Asia: Cambodia, China, Hong Kong, India, Indonesia, Japan, Laos, Malaysia, Mongolia, Myanmar, Nepal, Philippines, Singapore, South Korea, Taiwan, Thailand, and Vietnam.

Luce Scholar candidates are nominated by over seventy colleges and universities. Applications are submitted by eligible institutions in early November. The Luce Foundation cannot accept individual applications submitted directly to the foundation. Please see UW application information below!

  • Applicants must be U.S. citizens or Permanent Residents who have not reached their 30th birthday by June 20 of the year they enter the program.
  • Applicants must have earned at least a bachelor's degree or reasonably expect to receive that degree by June 20 of the year they enter the program.
  • Applicants must be in physical health that will not restrict them from working in a foreign environment.
  • Applicants should have a record of high achievement, outstanding leadership ability, and a clearly defined career interest with evidence of potential for professional accomplishment.
  • Those who already have significant experience in Asia or Asian studies are not eligible for the Luce Scholars Program. Applicants in any other major or degree program are welcome. Candidates may have taken Asian language or Asia-focused courses (without majoring in Asian Studies). They may have spent up to a total of 18 weeks in one or more Luce Scholars placement countries in Asia since graduating from high school. (The Luce Scholars Program is open to candidates with limited exposure to Asia. Those who already have significant experience (over 18 weeks) in Asia are not eligible.) 
  • Rising UW seniors (who will earn their bachelor's degrees by June 20, 2022), 2021 grads, alumni, and current graduate or professional students, who meet the above criteria are welcome to apply.
Student Type
  • senior
  • graduate
Citizen Type
  • Us Citizen
  • Permanent Resident

To Apply

To apply for UW nomination, please complete the online UW application and submit all required information, including letters of recommendation, by the deadline.

The application requires:

  • Online application form, which includes:
    • Two-page, single-spaced Personal Statement. Use the Personal Statement to convey a sense of who you are, and reflect on, among other things, (a) your personal journey; (b) your long-range professional interests, and how they have developed; (c) how you have embodied your own kind of leadership; and (d) how a year in Asia with Luce might be transformative.
    • Curriculum Vitae
    • Unofficial transcripts
    • 4 letters of recommendation - letters should represent a range of academic and professional references.

The campus selection committee will identify finalists and interview them in late-September. Up to 3 nominees will be selected from those finalists.

Additional Resources


The Henry Luce Foundation was established in 1936 by Henry R. Luce, the co-founder and editor-in-chief of Time Inc., to honor his parents who were missionary educators in China. The Foundation builds upon the vision and values of four generations of the Luce family: broadening knowledge and encouraging the highest standards of service and leadership. A not-for-profit corporation, the Luce Foundation operates under the laws of the State of New York and aims to exemplify the best practices of responsible, effective philanthropy.

The Henry Luce Foundation seeks to bring important ideas to the center of American life, strengthen international understanding, and foster innovation and leadership in academic, policy, religious and art communities.

The Luce Foundation pursues its mission today through the following grant-making programs: American Art; East Asia; Luce Scholars; Theology; Higher Education and the Henry R. Luce Professorships; the Henry R. Luce Initiative on Religion and International Affairs; Public Policy and the Environment; and the Clare Boothe Luce Program for women in science, mathematics and engineering.

UW's Luce Scholars

  • Elena Swartz, 2017
  • Varsha Govindaraju, 2015 
  • Genevieve Gebhart, 2013
  • Jesse Burk-Rafel, 2010
  • Elizabeth Steele, 1994
  • Shelley Clarke, 1993
  • Robert McKenna, 1991
  • Douglas Hamill, 1977
  • Martha Avery, 1977


Contact Information

Undergraduate students:

Robin Chang
Office of Merit Scholarships, Fellowships & Awards
Box 352803
171 Mary Gates Hall
Phone: 206-543-2603

Graduate students:

Michelle Sutton
Graduate School Office of Fellowships and Awards
Box 353770
G-1 Communications Bldg.
Phone: 206-543-7152